Bolivia, NC Airliner Crashes In Woodlands, Jan 1960

Bolivia NC  Plane wreckage 1-6-1960.jpg

Emergency and rescue vehicles rushed to the scene. A light rain fell as rescuers searched for bodies.
The FBI sent its special disaster squad to the scene. This was requested by CHARLES SHARP, National's vice president. The squad of three fingerprint experts has identified more than 80 per cent of the victims of airliner crashes it has investigated.
"We heard a loud noise about 2:40 a. m., that woke us up," said MRS. RUBY EDWARDS, Bolivia's postmistress. "And the first thing we thought of was a plane."
"The sound at first was sort of a 'poosh,' like it was coming down real fast. Then it sounded as if it was coming apart, and then there was a thud. It came down about half a mile from out home."
"When we found it hadn't been reported, we called the Wilmington Airport. We had looked out to see if there was a light or anything, but it was raining and real dense. We couldn't see anything."
A number of bodies lay among scattered luggage and pieces of the ship.
MRS. EDWARDS' husband, LESTER L. EDWARDS, a forest ranger, said it appeared to him that the plane might have exploded in flight. This opinion was shared also by DOYLE HOWARD, a reporter on the scene from the Wilmington News.
The giant night flying coach, a DC6B, was last heard from at 2:34 a.m. At that time the plane was just south of Wilmington when the pilot made a check.
The flight plane called for the plane to hug the coast on the leg from New York to Wilmington, then to swing out to sea for the overwater leg to Palm Beach. Weather conditions were to dictate when the plane was to turn over the Atlantic.
Clouds and rain lay in the plane's route as it passed Wilmington. But, said a spokesman, the big coach should have found clearing skies south of Wilmington. Airline officials said the ship had enough gasoline to remain aloft until 7:06 a.m. She was due at Miami at 4:36 a.m. It had left New York at 11:52 p.m.
Word that the plane was missing touched off a widespread search along the coast.
The Coast Guard put out seven aircraft and a number of surface vessels from Elizabeth City, N.C., Jacksonville and Miami. The Navy dispatched four vessels from Charleston, S.C., and four planes from Jacksonville.
Capt. C. H. RUDY, National's chief pilot, left Miami in a twin-engine Convair with a crew of eight in an apparent plan to trace northward over the DC6B's route.
A NAL plane, less than two months ago, crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, killing 42 persons aboard. It was on a flight from Miami to New Orleans. Most of the bodies and wreckage remain unrecovered.
In New York, National Airlines said it had asked the FBI to send experts to Bolivia to speed identification of the victims.
The airline said it was making efforts to fly relatives of the victims to the scene this afternoon.
The plane was manned by a veteran crew.

Capt. DALE SOUTHARD, 46, the pilot, flew bombers for a ferry service during World War II. He was born in Nebo, Mo. R. L. HENTZEL, 32, co-pilot, came with NAL in 1954 after five years in the Air Force. He was a Cleveland, Ohio, native. R. R. HALLECKSON, 35, flight engineer, joined the company in May, 1953. During World War II he served on B29 bombers. He was born in St. Paul, Minn.

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Comments

National Airlines 1960 Crash

I was an airline stewardess on Flight 601, a Boeing 707 jet when we were waiting in line to take off, the weather was bad, freezing cold and had snowed earlier in the day, the windshield cracked, so we taxied back to our boarding area for our plane to be replaced. They replaced it with 2 planes a Lockheed Electra and a DC-6 B. The crew members got together and flipped coins to see who was going on which plane. I got the DC-6B, but I asked one of the girls who got the Electra if I could take it back because I had a date and she said sure and I got the Electra prop-jet. A few months before in November 16, 1959, I was in the crew room when one of the girls said she was 3 months pregnant and this was her last flight. In those days you could not be married or pregnant. She asked if I would switch flights with her because her husband owned the catering business in Tampa. The flight was taking off from Miami to New Orleans with a stop in Tampa. Her husband was going to meet her at the flight while he was catering the plane, It was a DC-7B and there was also a bomb put in someone's luggage and that crashed over the Gulf on Mexico. I got lucky twice.

Case aspects in need of clarification

Julian Frank certainly had a suspect background - being investigated for financial
fraud by both the NY City District Attorney's Office and the NY attorneys
disciplinary agency. Did the FBI conclusively determine the identity of the remains
as those of Mr. Frank, given the damage to the body in this era before DNA?
Julian Frank was apparently a very smart ruthless and devious man and cer-
tainly it would seem possible that an unknown person could have been duped
to board that flight as Mr. Frank, especially in light of a prior National flight
two months before suspected of being blown up over the Gulf of Mexico with one of the victims

heavily insured and not the person identified on the flight manifest - both
persons had criminal records and had been prison cell mates. Very similiar
situations to a mid seventies suspected faked death in a private jet crash in Mexico of
rogue Argentinian financier David Gravier.

2551

I have been to the site of the crash and have spoken to the owner of the property about that night. He was a child at the time and remembers his parents being very excited that night about the incident. Does anyone else find it funny that they heard all the noise, looked out and saw the fire etc. and then went back to bed????? Strange to say the least. The crash site is about 100 yards off of the southbound lane of HWY 17 by Bolivia, N.C. near Randolph Rd.

National Airlines 1960 Crash

Linda,

I am so sorry for your loss. I have been researching airline disasters for over 20 years. As an aircrew member of radar reconnaissance aircraft in the U.S. Navy, I have been in a number of close calls myself. In addition to othr material, I had a CD of New York Times pages from 1949-2008 and would do some research from that source. I was very interested in the Bolivia crash, as it was one of the first domestic airline brought down by a bomb.

Once again, please accept my condolences and please feel free to respond.

Greg Eichelberger

National Airlines 1960 Crash

Dear Mr. Eichelberger: I would be very interested in speaking with you. My parents were on that plane and I have done a lot of research on this. I was 5 yrs. old at the time. I did not know it was a bomb until I was over 45 years old! Imagine the shock. Thank you. Linda

Bolivia, North Carolina Crash, 1960

The cause of this disaster was a dynamite explosion which was detonated by means of dry cell batteries. The explosion occurred near the right of seat row 7.
During the recovery, it was discovered that the remains of one passenger, Julian A. Frank, a lawyer from New York City, were missing from the accident site. His body was eventually found sixteen miles away at a place called Snow's Marsh west of the Cape Fear River.
While autopsies of the crew and remaining passengers showed that all had died due to crash forces, Frank's autopsy showed that he had been fatally injured by a dynamite explosion originating either in his lap or (more likely) immediately under his seat.
A number of wires and metal fragments identified as parts of a bomb were found to have embedded themselves in his body, mainly in the arms and legs. Extensive searches of the aircraft fuselage revealed bone and bomb fragments surrounding the seat which had been assigned to Frank on boarding.
Investigators suspected that Frank had taken the bomb aboard the aircraft willingly, and that the bombing was therefore a murder-suicide.